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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 14 Jan 17 at 16:50 PM

Report: Blues 0 Nottingham Forest 0

Blues were forced to settle for a point after playing out a goalless draw against Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest at St. Andrew’s.

Gianfranco Zola’s side had plenty of possession, but Forest made it difficult for them as they defended in numbers throughout.

Both sides had a handful of scoring opportunities, but ultimately it was the defences that came out on top on a winter’s afternoon in the Second City.

Zola made just two changes to the side that drew against Newcastle United in their third FA Cup last time out, with Michael Morrison and Tomasz Kuszczak returning to the starting XI.

However, midfielder Craig Gardner had to be content with a place on the substitutes’ bench following his midweek loan signing from West Brom.

After what was a tentative opening from both sides, it was Forest that fashioned the first opening of note after 10 minutes when the ball was flashed across the Blues box. 

Brett Assombalonga was just inches away from meeting it as he went down under a challenge from Ryan Shotton, but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty. 

Forest had a golden opportunity to take the lead on the quarter hour mark, but it was somehow spurned by the unmarked Matt Mills who headed over from a corner, just six yards out.

It took until midway through the first-half for Blues to have their first real attempt.

Che Adams collected the ball on the left-hand side of the box before cutting inside and curling a shot just wide of the far post.

But they were not far away on 25 when Lukas Jutkiewicz’s pass found Maikel Kieftenbeld running in at the far post, but the Dutchman’s low drive was well blocked by Forest goalkeeper Stephen Henderson.

With the way that Forest had set up so deeply, Blues were struggling to break through their ranks.

And it was Forest that had the next opening when Ben Osborn’s cross found Matty Cash, but the Forest man was unable to keep his shot down and volleyed high and wide.

Half-time: Blues 0 Forest 0 

Both sides returned unchanged after the break.

Blues started the half very brightly and pinned Forest back in the opening minutes.

A massive roar reverberated around St. Andrew’s on 54 when boyhood Bluenose Gardner was sent into the action in place of Kieftenbeld.

Blues continued to press and Davis did well to send in a deep cross from the right which was met by Jutkiewicz.

Blues’ leading scorer got his head to it, but his attempt was comfortably saved by Henderson.

Zola made his second substitution of the game just after the hour mark when David Cotterill replaced Diego Fabbrini.

The game was finally beginning to come to life for Blues and they started to cause the Forest defence real problems.

A superb block by Forest defender Mills was the only thing that stopped Jutkiewicz opening his account.

Gardner then tried luck from long range, but he was unable to keep his shot down and it flew a couple of yards over the bar.

The same player then saw another shot held by Henderson, with Jutkiewicz set to pounce.

With the game entering its final ten minutes, Blues started to up their attacking threat and thought they had scored on 82 when Jutkiewicz forced the ball home from close range but it was ruled out for offside.

Zola's side now take a short break from league football as they travel up to the nort-east on Wednesday for their FA Cup third round replay against Newcastle United

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